/ Racing

Nathaniel on top in dramatic King George

Updated: Saturday, 23 Jul 2011 19:36

Nathaniel - the rapidly improving three-year-old won the King George in the hands of William Buick
Nathaniel - the rapidly improving three-year-old won the King George in the hands of William Buick

Nathaniel won a dramatic race for the King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot, where Rewilding had to be put down after falling and unseating Frankie Dettori.

William Buick kicked on early in the straight and landed the Group One midsummer showpiece, sponsored by Betfair, from Workforce, who veered violently left across the course.

The John Gosden-trained colt (11-2) justified being supplemented for £75,000 in tremendous style, but the race was marred by the fall of Prince of Wales’s Stakes winner Rewilding as he broke down over a furlong out.

The Mahmood Al Zarooni-trained Rewilding broke a cannon-bone and had to be put down immediately.

Dettori was helped back to the jockeys’ room but did not appear to be badly hurt, reportedly suffering a bruised knee and stood down for the day.

Gosden said: "I attended the horse (Rewilding) with the lad. He just put his leg down wrong and the cannon-bone snapped clean in two.

"I’ve seen it happen with a horse galloping in a paddock and they feel nothing. The vet was on hand as we gave the horse a final munch of grass and he dealt with it immediately."

He added of Nathaniel: "It was an intelligent ride by William, and I left it completely up to him how to ride the race.

"He let him stride on, which was not ideal, but then again Workforce would have been better if they had gone a pace. This horse is getting better and better, and showed it today.

"My inclination is to take him straight for the Arc, with perhaps a racecourse gallop beforehand."

Nathaniel was wining back-to-back races at Ascot, having been successful in the King Edward VII Stakes at the Royal meeting.

Gosden said: "He won here well before and he loves this track. We’ve been lucky in that it’s been a wet week and we’ve got the ground.

"To finish in front of a horse like Workforce is everything. He sets the standard - he’s an Arc winner, a Derby winner. He’s a phenomenal horse.

"With a bit of luck we’ll meet in the Arc, but we’d have to supplement again. We hadn’t even broke our maiden when they shut the Arc.

"It would be wonderful if we could meet in Paris in October."
Debussy had been expected to set the pace for Rewilding, but Ahmed Ajtebi slowed things down and Nathaniel was the surprise early leader.

Godolphin’s second string Debussy eventually went on over seven furlongs out, but when the race began in earnest it was Buick who was the first to commit and kicked on as they turned for home.

As the race looked like living up its billing, Rewilding appeared to take a false step, throwing Dettori to the ground.

Nathaniel made the best of his way home and although Workforce tried to get to the leader, last year’s Derby hero was well held and was two-and three-quarter lengths down at the line.

St Nicholas Abbey ran a fine race to be third under 18-year-old Joseph O’Brien, with Debussy fourth.

Buick said: "I would like to say how sorry I am for Rewilding and his connections. It’s never nice to see that happen.

"My fellow jumped in front and Ahmed Ajtebi obviously didn’t want to make the running so I let my horse stride along.

"It wasn’t ideal, but eventually I did get a lead off him and then I took it up turning in and this horse is getting better and better. Today he showed how good he is.

"I always knew he was a very good horse, but I didn’t know he was going to be as good as this.

"I could see Workforce in the corner of my eye and obviously you’ve got to have a lot of respect for a horse like him.

"But Nathaniel was not stopping and he galloped all the way to the line.

"It’s fantastic to win a King George. I remember coming along with my father (former jockey Walter Buick) to see this race. Now I’m here winning the King George and it’s just a dream come true."

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